Today’s coronavirus news: Doug Ford in isolation after aide tests positive for COVID-19; Ontario scrambles to launch provincial sick leave program
11:25 p.m.: Premier Doug Ford is isolating at home in Toronto after an aide tested positive for COVID-19.
“Today, a member of Premier Ford’s staff who came into close contact with him yesterday was tested for COVID-19 after learning that they had been at risk of exposure,” the premier’s office said at 10:40 p.m. Tuesday.
“This evening, the staff member received a positive result. Immediately upon learning that this staff member was even at risk of exposure, the premier left the legislature to be tested,” his office said.
“While his test results have returned negative, the premier will follow all public health advice for close contacts of positive cases, including isolating. He will do so in Toronto.”
Read the full story here: Doug Ford in isolation after aide tests positive for COVID-19
10:36 p.m.: Hawaii officials will allow state residents who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus to skip pre-travel testing and quarantine requirements for flights between islands.
Countries with confirmed COVID-19 deaths
Hawaii becomes the second state in the nation after New York to implement a vaccination verification program, state officials said at a news conference Tuesday.
The plan does not change anyone’s ability to travel and avoid quarantine by testing, as is currently required for trans-Pacific and inter-island travel, but adds another option for Hawaii residents who are 14 days past their final vaccination shot. People must have received their shots in the state to be eligible for the exemption.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige said the state hopes to add the option for trans-Pacific travellers this summer, but wants to test the program among island residents first.
Read the full story here: Hawaii to begin vaccine passports for travel between islands
10:15 p.m.: Wednesday’s drive-through vaccination appointments at Canada’s Wonderland have been cancelled in light of a forecast of snow.
The appointments have been rebooked for Friday at the same time as the original appointments, said a statement Tuesday from York Region.
Environment Canada said four to eight centimetres of snow is expected to fall across the GTA on Tuesday going into Wednesday afternoon.
Those with rescheduled appointments will be contacted by email or phone.
The amusement park has been administering shots at its vaccination clinic for almost a month.
Some 87.6 per cent of York Region residents aged 80 and older and 85.6 per cent of those aged 75 to 79 have received at least one dose, according to the regional site’s interactive database.
9:30 p.m.: As soon as word got out earlier this week that Ontario was opening up AstraZeneca vaccine availability to people 40 and older, Betsy Hilton’s group chats lit up on her phone.
“It was wild. Every 40-something I knew was getting on pharmacy websites trying to get a spot,” said the 42-year-old Toronto communications consultant, who booked a jab for Wednesday.
Across the country, Gen X’ers — who grew up with Cabbage Patch Kids and New Kids on the Block, and are sometimes called the “latchkey” generation because many returned to an empty home after school as parents worked — have pounced at the sudden availability in several provinces of AstraZeneca, the vaccine baby boomers have been slow to embrace amid reports of a possible association with rare blood clots.
So what makes Gen X different?
Read the full story here: Why are Gen X’ers embracing the AstraZeneca vaccine? It’s practical, they say
8:00 p.m.: The British Columbia government is looking at using periodic roadblocks to limit travel in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and the solicitor general, said the checks would be set up at locations like ferry terminals or along major highways leading out of Metro Vancouver.
The goal is to discourage recreational travel, but there will be no random, individual stops, Farnworth said in a statement Tuesday.
Farnworth said his ministry is also working to ensure the new rules announced by Premier John Horgan on Monday don't unfairly impact racialized communities.
"Most British Columbians know they have a part to play in helping to curb the spread of COVID-19 and I am sure they will adhere to the new rules and stay in their region," Farnworth said.
“Our intention is to discourage recreational and leisure travel, not punish people, and we are not interested in disrupting commuters and people going about their lives."
He is expected to announce more details on Friday.
Police will wait for an order under the Emergency Program Act and any associated guidelines before proceeding, the Public Safety Ministry said.
The government has been working with the tourism industry to cancel bookings that have been made and to not accept new ones from people living outside their intended destination. BC Ferries will be cancelling reservations that include recreational vehicles such as campers.
Measures that ban indoor dining and adult activities at gyms were also extended for another five weeks, matching the length of the travel restrictions, which will continue until at least May 24.